Apart from tranquil and some great sights, Puducherry and Auroville are home to wonderful and innovative gourmet brands. We went on a short trip and discovered these lovely options.
Mason & Co
Mason & Co was started by a husband and wife duo, Fabien and Jane, who love the art and science of making and eating chocolate. Jane has trained as a chocolate-maker and a raw food chef and is obsessed with everything natural, healthy and yummy. Fabien has lived in India for most of his life and is a trained sound engineer but being French, fine food and fine chocolate are in his genes. When they moved to India, they started buying small amounts of beans and making chocolate at home, experimenting with the different beans to assess flavour and quality. Their love for bean-to-bar, organic chocolate saw the business expand from this home laboratory into a small artisan factory. The team now make chocolate from beans sourced from India and abroad which is supplied to individuals and stores all around India. They work directly with farmers to improve post harvesting practices and boost the Indian cacao industry and provide consulting services to individuals or businesses wanting to explore chocolate making.
Gelato factory was set up in 2015 in Auroville for producing artisanal Italian ice cream called gelato and already have a parlour each in Auroville and Puducherry as well as two franchise locations — one in Chennai, and another in Thiruvannamalai. The business is run by run by Francesco Carboni and Silvia Latini from Rome. The place is inspired by Roberto Torani’s gelateria in Rome and Torani happens to be Carboni’s mentor as well. You can enjoy the authentic Italian ice creams prepared in-house. It is 100 % natural, extremely low fat and healthy. In Auroville you can see the production from the window. Nut-based flavours are in high demand and they also offer lots of vegan options.
It was established as a social enterprise in 1991 in the international township of Auroville. Martina Ljungquist, the Swedish founder, brought with her a wide knowledge of traditional European recipes and Swedish standards in management, hygiene and workers’ welfare. Through 23 years of research, product development and a successful fusion of East and West, they have created a company producing gourmet food of international standard. They sell a wide range of natural and organic fine foods in different places all over India including jams, marmalades and fruit syrups, nut butters and breakfast cereals, pickles and pesto. In addition, they empower women from disadvantaged back grounds by providing them meaningful work.
La Ferme combines Indian, Dutch and French techniques and know-how to produce almost ten varieties of cheese at a quantity of 100 kg daily in Puducherry. In 1988, they started to develop a line of handmade farm cheeses for the citizens of Auroville. For the cheese production, traditional methods were adapted to the conditions of the South Indian climate, considering Western hygienic standards and concerns for a clean and sustainable environment. Their pasteurisation, for instance, is done with biogas, water is pumped by a windmill and waste water is recycled. The milk is supplied by farms in Auroville (including their own dairy) as well as by farmers from surrounding villages. All their cheeses contain natural whole cow milk, salts, vegetarian enzymes and seasoning cultures. Lofabu and Jeera cheese are the most popular products.
Another cheese brand from the place that produces delectable varieties of cheese. Years ago, a French family decided to set sail for India in search of a new venture. They fell in love with Puducherry for its unique mix of Tamil and French charm, and decided to make it their home. A while after, they decided to build Mango Hill, a hotel and restaurant nestled in the countryside between Auroville and Pondicherry. Cheese, bread and wine are a large part of French culture, and not widely produced in India. They then opted to make their own products, and Mango Hill Cheese was born. Every morning and evening, fresh milk is delivered to our dairy by local farmers, and tested for quality. Every cheese produced is unique and is cent percent natural, using only what nature graciously provides. From blue cheese, cheddar, gouda and mozarella to rare varieties like borsalino and Colby; they produce it all at the hotel premises.